The birds are in full voice now, so FWi has teamed up with the RSPB for this easy-to-enter birdsong competition for the under-16s. Get listening here and you could win great prizes.

All you have to do is listen to the eight different audio clips of birdsongs and match them up to the birds shown in random order below.

Then email tim.relf@rbi.co.uk, listing the audio clips 1 to 8 and clearly marking the name of the corresponding bird next to it.

THE PRIZES
Everybody who enters will receive an RSPB Fun Book that has some great nature-spotting tips inside.
Ten runners-up will also each receive a fantastic bird soft toy that sings a real song when squeezed.
The lucky winner will get a super bird-spotting kit worth over £50. It includes a set of powerful binoculars, a guidebook to help identify all those birds you’ll see through them, a funky magnifying bug box for looking at the creepy crawlies birds love to eat and, of course, a smart rucksack to put all your gear into.
You’ll also need to include the answer to this tie-breaker question in fewer than 30 words in your email:

“My favourite birdsong is the ………………’s because………………”

Some of them are quite easy, others are a bit more tricky. There are a few clues in the descriptions we provide, as well as in bird books and on the RSPB’s web site www.rspb.org.uk

Alternatively, you could get outside and listen to the birds for real. If you take a quiet moment to sit in the garden or go out in the fields, it’s amazing how many individual voices start to emerge. Good luck and happy listening.

Sorry, mums and dads, but you must be 16 or under at the closing date to enter. Have fun and good luck!

The closing date for entries is 18 June and we’ll announce the winners at the beginning of July.

Please clearly state your name and address on your email and confirm that you are 16 or under at the closing date.

* The RSPB promise not to sell your details to anyone else, but would like to tell you about fun activities and things you can buy from them and RSPB sales ltd. The RSPB may review your details and use them for market research and analysis. If you do not want them to use your details in this way, please write clearly on your entry email: No details.

bird watching


THE BIRDS TO LISTEN OUT FOR
ROBIN
Widespread across UK in woodland edges, hedges and gardens. Sings from high perches a sweet high-pitched song all year round, sometimes at night.
blackbird BLACKBIRD
Common across UK. Sings from bare trees or roofs with a fluty song with many different phrases. Many different calls including “chink, chink, chink”.
SKYLARK
Found on farmland, grassland and upland areas. Flies to a great height and then gradually descends singing non-stop with a continuous warbling song.
YELLOWHAMMER
Widespread in open country with hedgerow and bushes. Sings from the top of bushes and has a short song all on one note except for the last “se-se-se-se-se-se-soo”.
BARN OWL
Widespread but uncommon, absent from parts of Scotland and west Ireland. Hunts alone for rodents, usually at dusk. Has eerie shrieks and hissing screams.
BLUE TIT
Widespread in deciduous woodland, park and gardens. Feeds acrobatically on feeders. Has a thin see see call and churring alarm call, see-see-see churrr.
BUZZARD
Widespread but most common in north and west, likes hilly country with scattered woodland. Soars high with wings in shallow V and has a high-pitched, far-carrying “pee-uuuu”.
LAPWING
Widespread on farmland and marshy areas; in winter on ploughed fields and along coast. Breeding numbers are falling. Has a loud, rolling peewit call.

 

TOP TIPS ON IDENTIFYING BIRDSONG AND BIRD WATCHING

Identifying individual birds when the dawn chorus is in full swing might seem a daunting task, but the RSPB’s youth manager Mark Boyd has some top tips to turn you into a professional.

  1. Start listening early in the year when there are fewer species about to confuse you. To hear more birds, get up early. Most singing happens either side of sunrise. Resident birds start singing earliest.
  2. Keep it simple to begin with. Start by identifying those birds that you can actually see singing, like robins and blackbirds.
  3. Cupping your hands behind your ears really does help pick out the songs. Be quiet and make sure the birds don’t see you by avoiding standing against the skyline.
  4. Learn what the descriptive terms, like fluty or harsh, that guide books use to describe songs and rhythms mean. That way you’ll have an idea of what the song should sound like before you’ve heard it.
  5. If possible, go listening with somebody who knows the songs. CDs and guidebooks are good, but sometimes there are so many songs they can be confusing.
  6. Be a detective. Sometimes species sound so similar they confuse even the experts. But by learning about the bird’s habits you can gather clues that will help. For example, a whitethroat sings from hedges, but the similar-sounding sedge warbler prefers reed beds. Some birds tend to sing when they’re flying, others when they’re perching.
  7. Finally, don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to learn the different songs, says Mark. He’s been listening to birds since he was eight and there are still some that catch him out. Having fun is the most important thing and you probably know more songs than you think.